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Website Homepage Design

4 Tips for Creating an Effective Home Page for your Website

Website Homepage DesignCrafting the perfect home page is both an art and a science; however, there are simple things that business owners can do to ensure their home page quickly engages visitors. After all, the goal of the home page is to compel visitors to dig deeper into your website. The home page needs to be appealing enough to get visitors to want to take the time to do that. Here are four strategies that small business owners should utilize when creating the home page of their website.

Include your business name, address, and phone number in the header.

Provide your company’s information right off the bat by putting it in the Header. This establishes trust and is also important for SEO health. Larisa Thomason from NetMechanic wrote: “You’d think this would be automatic, but many sites don’t include this vital information. Many visitors hesitate to do business with a company that won’t provide a phone number. Search directory editors look for contact information too; they may reject your site if you don’t provide it.”

Have a relevant, provoking graphic and call to action.

Every effective home page uses primary and secondary calls to action in order to direct visitors deeper into the site. There are many key phrases that work great as part of a call to action. For example, “Learn More”, “Act Now”, “Special Offer”, or “Don’t Miss Out”. CTAs get visitors to click through to what they need to do next and, more importantly, turn them into sales or leads. A good rule of thumb is to include a CTA early on the home page and an even more aggressive one towards the bottom.

Offer navigation to only key areas.

Listen, your home page is not meant to provide every last detail about your business, products, and/or services. As stated earlier, it should serve to compel visitors deeper into your site. By limiting navigation to key areas it keeps the experience simple, logical, and easy to follow. This makes for a pleasant user experience which is more likely to result in a visitor getting to those areas of your site that turn them into a customer. Key areas differ based on your type of business but can include a Services area, a Locations page, or a Coupons page.

Include a testimonial.

Testimonials work best if they are sprinkled throughout your site. That being said, start that sprinkling right on the home page. It’s a great way to welcome new visitors and qualm any reservations they may have about your products or services. It also adds an immediate human connection in an online environment where, let’s face it, it’s difficult to engage emotionally. By beginning the visitor experience by introducing them to a customer who is one of your company’s biggest fans, you’re sure to put them at ease and make them comfortable digging deeper into your website.


Jim Sampson, Private Party Advertising Manager at PennySaver USAJim Sampson is the Customer Support Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Local Business Listings.

Marketing vs. Advertising: It’s Important to Know the Difference

In an era when 8 out of 10 small businesses are destined to fail within the first year, it is essential that these business owners understand the difference between marketing and advertising and their unique importance to their overall success. A lot of times you will hear the terms used interchangeably, and this is fundamentally incorrect. If used, and understood, correctly as standalone functions you can quickly see how the two can effectively augment businesses to help drive conversions, create sticky customers who identify with your brand, and act as a catalyst for revenue growth.

Marketing

474373035When a small business looks at what their marketing efforts should be, it is quintessential that they understand marketing is the process of readying their products and services for the marketplace by portraying a brand that speaks to their targeted consumer base. The first step for establishing a marketing strategy for a product or service is to truly examine their target audience by identifying their needs and values. Once the target demographic is determined it is important that the small business uses the influence of those consumers on determining the brand elements (i.e., colors, logos, etc) to push the products or services in alignment with the needs of the consumers.

Marketing Tools

  • Website – In an era where more and more people turn to the internet to digest content and look for products and services, there is little doubt that your website should be considered your cornerstone of your marketing plan.
  • Local Business Listings – Leveraging the power of a Local Business Listing service will help get your business listed within the framework of search engines, mobile, and directory sites that all factor into local SEO for your website. This product will also give you the ability to brand your business across a wider network of web presences.

Advertising

451929683As noted above marketing is the way that you push and convince potential customers in the marketplace that you have the right product or service form them; however, advertising is how you reach and communicate to those potential customers the existence of your products and services. A small business must take their marketing efforts and determine the advertising channels they want to pursue to reach their target demographic. Some of the most popular advertising channels leverage the tools of print, radio, television, and the Internet, which all provide an efficient path to communicate a brand to a potential consumer. Obviously, most advertising channels do not come free, so for a small business with a tight budget, it is important to know which channel is best suited to reach your target audience effectively.

Advertising Channels

  • Social Media – Social media is a highly effective and largely inexpensive tool that should be readily leveraged by a small business to spread the word about what your business has to offer. Local businesses should pay particular attention to Facebook, Google+, and Twitter as these platforms will let you acutely focus your advertising money on trying to reach your target audience.
  • Search Engine Marketing – Leveraging the power of paid advertising across the major search engines (i.e., Google, Yahoo!, and Bing) allows a small business to serve location and keyword based ads to consumers that are readily searching for products and services. These highly customizable and targeted ads will allow your small business to put itself in front of more consumers in an effort to get them to engage and convert with your business.

If you have any questions on how the suite of digital products offered by PowerSites® can help you support all of your marketing and advertising needs don’t hesitate to contact us today, or reach out to your existing Account Executive directly.

 


Lynn Hughes, Product Manager at PowerSites®Lynn Hughes is the Product Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Local Business Listings.
Single Page Website Design

The Rise of Single Page Web Design for Small Businesses

Single Page Website DesignIn the world of web design there are new trends that develop all the time, with some having staying power and some just being flash-in-the-pan concept designs. The ones that have staying power have the potential to evolve what we consider today to be the best practices for web design. In the realm of looking at a readily growing trend for small businesses it is time to give some real attention to the concept of single page web design. Single page web design is exactly what it sounds like, as it is literally just the creation of a single page website that leverages anchor tags and a longer scroll to navigate through one page of content rather than having individual pages of content created for each aspect of the site or business.

For a small business that is trying to create an online presence for itself there are numerous benefits that can be leveraged from taking a single page website design approach for their site, and we will briefly explore a few of these below.

Content is King

Now more than ever with Google’s Panda 4.0 algorithm update the emphasis is being placed on the QUALITY of content and not QUANTITY of content. If you’re a small business that has a couple of core functionalities you shouldn’t stretch your content out by creating extra pages with limited information on each of them, as the lack of content on each page can be very off-putting to web visitors. Instead of creating a ton of pages with thin content a small business should take a look at clean single page design that can present the core services and products of your business to the online consumer in a very clean and effective manner.

Quick Site Digestion

With the rise of mobile, and the evolvement of the human mentality in general, web users more than ever want to find what they’re looking for and they want to find it now. With a single web page design you give everyone that visits your site all the information they need in a single page without forcing them to jump around and navigate from page to page, and potentially missing what they’re looking for. This leads to a better user experience as they can quickly view the site and it increases the opportunity that that web visitor will positively interact with a business – and in the world of websites and business – user interaction is critical to long term success.

Increased Conversions

The purpose of a website is to inherently brand your business online and to drive the generation of new leads. The definition of leads will vary from business to business, but they can include things like calls tracked through a call tracking number, form fills, coupon prints, map views, etc. Depending on the business, a different emphasis will be placed on each type of lead, but one unquestionable fact is that when a user comes across a site that has quality content, is easy to digest, and is visually stimulating that they are much more likely to engage with the business. Through the use of a Google Analytics tag a business can easily track the increased conversions that they are generating through this style of site design.

A single page design is not an end all be all solution for every small businesses, but this style is readily growing from just being a trend to being lumped into a more selective group of being a viable website design best practice.

 


Lynn Hughes, Product Manager at PowerSites®Lynn Hughes is the Product Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.

Finding Success in the Midst of this Small Business Revival

Think your small business can’t compete in a retail landscape dominated by big-box stores?
Think again.

Wal-Mart, Target and other major players arena have been successful over the last thirty years largely because they saw a niche and filled it. They exist to provide reliable access to generic consumer goods at low prices. But not every customer is in the market for mere commodities, and the best customers are not those who are buying on price. In fact, with the dramatic increase in Internet commerce seen in recent years, and the rise of mobile computing, mom-and-pop shops who offer boutique goods and services have never been in a better position to harvest some of that discretionary cash consumers have been saving by purchasing their everyday needs at rock-bottom, big-box prices.

Small Business RevivalBy establishing a website and solid online presence, smaller shops can now literally serve customers around the world. Just as importantly, the Internet offers a way to retain loyal local customers who may have been forced to move away due to family obligations, job changes, or a countless number of other scenarios. For their part, customers have been quick to seize the opportunity. Internet sales now account for nearly 16 percent of all retail spending and continue to trend upward.

So, what are the keys to finding success in the midst of this online small business revival?

It All Begins with Great Products and Great Service

This much hasn’t changed. Online or in-person, customers want to find value and be treated well. Use your ability to deliver personalized service and higher-end, boutique goods as your unique selling point. Not only will you be delivering something the big-box stores simply can’t, but also be attracting high-quality customers who are motivated to buy.

Make Sure Your Website Looks Professional and Functions Smoothly

Your website is the Internet equivalent of your storefront, so make sure it impresses. Keep it updated with new, fresh, and relevant content. If you’re worried that you have no idea how to create, or where to even start with designing a website, there are services that will build your website for you, like PowerSites. Be sure to have photos of your storefront, staff, products offered, testimonials from customers and your business info. Use your website, as an outlet to tell your business’s story.

Think Customer Engagement

Building community is key in today’s online marketplace. Simply putting up a static website and waiting for the sales to come rushing in won’t cut it. Be sure to engage your customers through major social media services like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Also, consider hosting a blog on your website. Customers and search engines both love content marketing, so these practices will help get you found online.

Bulid an Email Marketing List

This is crucial. Your best customers will always be the ones who invite you to show-up in their their inbox. Offer a giveaway, special discount, or some other incentive to visitors who are willing to opt-in to your mailing list. Then follow-up by reaching out proactively to these highly-motivated buyers from time to time with insider news or special offers. It’s a great way to keep your loyal customers engaged, and the potential to turn first-time customers into returning customers.

For small business retailers, going online can be the great equalizer in the never-ending competition with the big-box stores. Yes, they can offer cut-rate pricing and a wide variety of generic consumer goods, but that’s probably not your niche anyway. After all, you have a high-value customer base to get out there and serve.

Social Media Monday: Five Steps for Social Media Marketing Magic

Running a small business is a never-ending job. There’s always one more thing to do and one more thing to learn, and never enough time or resources for anything, especially marketing. What if you had a magic tool that amplified all your marketing efforts, hundreds of times beyond your current results? That would be a tool worth the time spent learning to use it.

Surprise! That magic tool is here, and it’s social media marketing. Social media is so much more than collecting likes and sharing pictures. It can be a powerful tool to guide your new product plans, to shape your brand and to draw highly targeted prospects to your website. If you’re just starting with social media, here are five essential social media marketing tips to get you started.

Step One
Start by identifying your target market. Every small business thinks they know their target but usually they don’t identify detailed characteristics. For example, if you sell sheet music, you might assume your target is simply musicians. You could be surprised if you analyzed your customer base. If you knew that your two biggest demographics were college freshmen into country music and computers, and music teachers in inner city grammar schools, would it change your messaging or product mix?

Step Two
Next, spend time listening to your key targets. Find out which websites they frequent, and what search terms they look for. Read their posts and discussions and really get to know them. Stay in the background during this step. Your job here is to listen and learn. When you feel like you know your target well, you’re ready to put your social media strategy in place.

Step Three
Develop unique content. It’s essential to include some of the SEO keywords you identified in step two to drive traffic to your posts or website, but don’t go overboard. Search engines don’t buy your products, people do. Make sure you design your content for people to read and enjoy. It’s important that your content is fresh, engaging and readable to keep people coming back, or to get them to repost, retweet or send links to their friends. The value of your content is what counts for social media marketing.

Step Four
Give a little to get a little. Identify key influencers, and retweet something of theirs. Like them on Facebook or join in on the discussions on Twitter. Ask questions if you don’t have anything new to add, but it’s better to offer positive commentary. The influencers will notice you and reciprocate. Once that happens, your results will start to snowball.

Step Five
Keep up the good work. Refresh your content frequently so that people keep coming back. Continue to join in online discussions with intelligent thoughtful commentary. Share interesting content with others, just as you hope that others will share yours. Make sure you respond to messages and posts promptly. This isn’t “Field of Dreams.” If you build it, they may come, but they won’t stick around if there’s no game on the field.

Now that you’ve used your magic social media marketing tools, watch your traffic and sales increase exponentially.

Small Business Tips: Marketing Strategy for the Holidays

The Holiday Season is in full-swing, and for small business owners, that means a potential increase in revenue. While the boost may come organically, just because of the sheer timing and necessity of the Holidays, it’s still very important to engage in Holiday promotions and marketing strategy to get the most out of the Holiday rush. Here are just some of the top marketing tips and strategies small business owners should be implementing for the Holiday season.

Optimize and Update Your Website

Updating your website with relevant keywords and content should be at the very top of your Holiday to-do list. Use keywords that are relevant to what product or service your business offers. Use relevant “Holiday” keywords like “gifts, free shipping, holidays, Christmas, New Years, sale, limited time, special offer”, etc. If your site has a blog, blog about your Holiday specials, or holiday-themed topics. Update store hours on your website and phone prompt, if they’re different for the Holiday season. If you don’t already have a website, now is definitely the time to get one. If you need help getting a website, contact our PowerSites team and they can help you launch your online presence.
Use these marketing tips for the holiday season

Holiday Coupons

Coupons are a great way to generate buzz and interest about your business. Holidays are a great time to promote coupons, good for both service and product-centered small businesses. You should use all channels of advertising to promote you coupons. Promote your coupons online via your website, email marketing and social media channels, and also through traditional print advertising in your local classifieds or with fliers and postcards. Just be sure to run a promotion that doesn’t hurt your bottom line.

Email Marketing and Social Media

Like mentioned before, it’s important to use all marketing channels to your advantage. Not only for promoting your coupons, but for staying engaged with your customer base. Whether you have special holiday promotions or not, it’s important to stay connected with your customers. If you have an existing customer email list, send out an email to the list wishing everyone a happy holidays and new year. If you already have a Facebook Business page, Twitter Account, Yelp, or Google + Page, post a status update to your social media accounts wishing everyone a happy holidays. You may not have a promotion to advertise, but you’ll show up in their inbox and news feed, and if they weren’t thinking about your business before, you’re now on their mind, which may prompt them to visit your store or website. Effective email campaigns can have a big impact on getting customers into your store and purchasing.

Search Engine Marketing

Geo-targeting and hyper-local advertising will be key during the Holiday season. The Holidays creep up on everyone, and most people leave their gift-buying to the last minute, which means they’re on a time crunch and will shop locally to get what they need. It’s important to have an SEM campaign running prior and during the holidays, so you will rank higher in the search results. If you’re not sure where to even start with search engine marketing, contact our PowerClicks team to help you get started.

What are some other Holiday marketing strategies that have worked for you?

Marked Down Marketing: Promoting Your Business Without Hurting Your Bottom Line

We’ve heard it all before: “You’ve got to spend money to make money.” With a bit of planning, research and ingenuity, however, that saying no longer has to apply to promoting your small business. If your business necessitates an emphasis on hyper local marketing, you’ll also need to employ quite a bit of creativity, but that just makes things all the more fun. Utilize these simple tips to market your business for little or no cost and then use the earned income to fund more ambitious marketing ventures. Lining up these strategies with a large event such as an open house or a large sale will make an even bigger bang.

Participate in Community Events

Most community events are free or low cost. Be aware that sincerity about local positive endeavors is a crucial prerequisite to successful networking and marketing. If you really want to permeate your local radius, keep the goals and purposes of community events in mind when you distribute your business cards and artfully promote your business. You are a key representative of your company and should conduct yourself as such.

Take Advantage of Free Advertisement

Promote Your Business Without Hurting Your Bottom LinePositive word of mouth is one of the most economical forms of advertisement available. Standing out from the crowd, providing a quality service or product, and having outstanding customer service are all things that any business owner striving for success should be doing. Coincidentally, if these things are well accomplished, most customers will find it difficult not to at least give your company a passing mention to an interested friend or acquaintance.

Develop an Online Presence

A professional website is highly recommended for any business and it is nothing you should skimp on. If you don’t already have a website, and aren’t sure where to start, it’s best to pay and have one created for you. PowerSites can help you get started with your online presence.

After launching your website, it’s important to start blogging, explore the internet for other blogs that relate to your business and utilize the available audience. Do this by making relative contributions to the conversation and unobtrusively providing links to your blog. Many businesses also use social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in similar ways. In the event that time or creative writing skills are an issue, consider outsourcing these tasks by hiring a freelance copywriter or content writer.

Implement a Customer Followup Strategy

Email marketing is a great way to promote your business at a low cost. Don’t be a nuisance, but when customers frequent your business, have a contact sheet available or signup form on your website, so that your customers have the option of registering and receiving important news and discounts. Be responsible with their contact information. Avoid flooding their inboxes with spam, but thank them for their business, inquire about their satisfaction with your product or service, and provide a convenient discount for the next time they return.

Want to be found on the first page of Google?

Google is the most popular search engine on the internet, and increasing your Google ranking is the surest way to increase your small business website response rates. While it’s often been said that content is king on the internet, when it comes to Google ranks, links are a closely-held second place queen. If you don’t already have a website for your small business, PowerSites can help.

One key method to improve your Google ranking is to increase the number of high-quality back links you have to your site. In addition to creating more back links, here are 5 more ways to increase your Google ranking:

  • Evergreen Content

    Staying current is important when it comes to website content, but if you want to consistently rank higher on Google, evergreen content is the key. One of the most important marketing tips given by almost every expert is to create content that has staying power. If it’s relevant a year from now, readers will still find value in your posts and will stay on the site longer. This translates to more sales and more repeat customers. Readers who only find last years’ news on your site will be left wondering how else you’ve fallen behind the times.

  • Increase your Google Ranking

  • Keywords

    Use Google’s Keyword Tool to find useful search terms for your particular business. Customers looking for your type of product or service will search online using specific phrases. Search engine optimization, or SEO, aims to take advantage of these common search phrases by sprinkling them into pages on your site where Google can pick up on them when performing a search. Look for phrases that have a relatively high search number and a relatively low competition. If you need help with starting your SEO campaign, contact our PowerClicks team today.

  • Guest Blogging

    Contact website owners in related fields and offer to write a guest blog post in exchange for a link back to your site. Bloggers are almost always open to guest bloggers, as it gives an exciting new flavor for their readers to sample. You’ll get the word out there about your small business, get a valuable link back to your site and maybe increase your readership and fan base. Stick with blogs where you have a great amount of knowledge on the subject matter, or where you are an acknowledged expert on the topic, for the best impact. Come back in the days after your post appears to answer any questions or comments the readers may post.

  • Video

    According to Mashable Business, posting videos on your site can increase your rankings dramatically. Video can put a face on your business and convey a sense of the company culture and attitude. If you’re known as friendly, helpful or knowledgeable, create a series of small videos that demonstrate those traits. Google likes video, and shows it appropriately in its rankings.

  • Update Regularly

    One of the oldest and most valuable small business tips for website owners is to update your website or blog on a regular basis. There’s no need to post every day if you don’t have anything new to say, but create a schedule and stick to it. Regular readers and customers will begin to count on seeing new posts, and will be disappointed if they don’t appear.

Tips to Improve Your Sales Results

Small business owners are in business to create sales and profits. Here are a few thoughts on ways that you can improve your sales and find new local customers. These small business marketing tips will help you become more successful.

  • It is important to have a good marketing plan in place. You need to know who your potential customers are and understand what they want. If you’re not sure where to start, refer to our blog on how to increase repeat customers.

  • If you don’t already have an online presence, you should consider creating a web site. You may not know how to create a web site but there are many people or companies who can do this for you at a reasonable cost. PowerSites can help you get your website up and running. These days, when people are searching for a local business to help them, they often go to Google first.

  • Improve your Sales with these Marketing TipsYou can use email marketing to grow your customer base and stay in contact with your current customers. You should have a way to collect customers email addresses. Then you can email them on a regular basis to keep your business name in front of them and to offer them specials. Remember to take care of your existing customers. People who have bought from you are the most likely to buy from you again. Email is one good way to stay in touch with these existing customers.

  • You can also increase your emphasis on word of mouth referrals to your company. If you already have satisfied local customers, they can be your best source of new customers. Create an incentive program for referrals. Offer something that makes it worthwhile for your satisfied customers to recommend you to their friends.

  • Another way to improve sales is to talk with your existing customers. Ask them what they think you’re doing well and what areas you could improve in. They will be happy you asked, and you will get some valuable feedback. You can do this in person or you may try using social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

  • You always want to be easily accessible to your clients and potential customers. They need to be able to reach you easily when they are looking for you. If they do a Google search, you want them to find your website, with an enticing one sentence description and your phone number, listed prominently. This is where SEO comes in. If you’re not sure where to start, let PowerClicks help you.

These small business tips will prove to be very useful to your business once they’re implemented properly and executed. I hope these help you improve sales and grow your business.

We all have our favorite sales tips to use and pass on to others. Share these tips with others and/or comment below and share some of your favorite small business tips!

Make Your Business More Visible Online and Offline

Being visible brings customers to a small business. It’s an age-old axiom, and in modern business it’s practiced regularly through marketing and advertising. Yet visibility starts with first understanding where the business is today and where it needs to be to get in front of customers.

Imagine for a moment, you’re a tourist in your town. You need a particular product or service but it’s the first time you’ve ever visited the location. What would you do first to find that service or product? If in a highly urban area today, most people would use their mobile device and some kind of app to locate local businesses quickly that serve the need and are within reach. However, let’s say the town is a bit off the beaten path and your cell signal isn’t that great. Most people then revert back to the traditional tools available, which generally include the local yellow pages, the newspaper, local classified ads, and finally referrals by a local, knowledgeable person.

A business desiring to improve being seen locally can only hope to influence people into becoming reliable referrals, but it can definitely do something about placement and visibility in local papers, phone books and local searches on the Internet as well.

Consider the following marketing tips:

Business Listings

List your business in the yellow pagesThe phone book is an easy avenue to initiate. However, it’s only effective when caught at the beginning of the printing cycle. Otherwise a business has to wait for the next printing, which usually occurs once a year. However, you can now add your business to online business directories, listings and review sites, such as YellowPages.com, or Yelp.com. Make sure that the information listed for your business is always accurate.

Get a Website

Small Business Tips: Get a Website with PowerSites

In this technology-fueled world, if you have a business, you NEED to have a website. If you don’t already have one, let PowerSites help you. Once you have your own website up and running, make sure that all listings and pages about your business link back to your website. This includes your Yelp page, yellowpages.com listing, Facebook Page, Twitter Account, Google+, and any other business listing or social media page.

Search Engine Optimization

With the website established and complete with necessary information and the critical contact data included, the website needs to be profiledand listed on search engines to be picked up. A business has two options for this part: pay for a better search engine listing position or make the website real interesting with constantly changing content and SEO. If one doesn’t have the time for daily website work, Entrepreneur Magazine suggests paying for the search engine ranking spot may be the better way to go. If you’re a local business owner looking to try paid search, you don’t have to go it alone. Check out PennySaverUSA.com‘s paid search service, PowerClicks.

Print Ads

Finally, print ads still matter. While it may sound old-fashioned, newspaper and classified ads still work exceptionally well in driving local customers to a business. Local papers and classified ads still provide key links for locals and visitors to quickly find services they are looking for in the immediate area. It’s also a great way to attract new customers, by enticing them with offers and coupons.

So, to boost online and offline awareness a small business should work on multiple levels of advertising, as noted above, simultaneously. This covers both traditional and technological ways of marketing for products and services. It also covers a wide generational spectrum of customers, which can mean more business and more awareness overall.